At its meeting last night, the Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors received a preliminary estimate for four options for property tax assessments facing property owners in the three phases of the proposed sewer project. The board will also be faced with the decision of using a contractor who can build the sewer system in two years, or taking on the project itself for less money over five years. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the meeting and files this report…
Scenarios 1 and 3 are outsourcing the construction to a contractor who can build the project in two years, with grants totaling 10 percent of the cost (Scenario 1), and 5 percent of the cost (Scenario 3). Scenarios 2 and 4 are if Hi-Desert Water District builds the project in five years, with 10 percent and five percent grants, respectively. The interest rate for a state loan for all scenarios is 1.5 percent. The assessments would be lower if the water district qualifies for a .5 percent interest rate.
Depending on several factors, such as whether the Phase 1 property owner has developed or undeveloped land, how much grant money the district receives, and whether the water district hires a contractor to build the sewer in two years or does it itself in five years, the one-time Phase 1 assessment for a single family home could range from about $13,700 to $17,400, with multiple family residences and mobile homes paying less (Multi-family homes would pay .72 of the amount; mobile homes, .60. Commercial properties would be assessed based on the water usage over a year). The cost could be even lower if the water district decides to build the sewer project itself. Director Dan Munsey wasn’t sure the lower cost, and longer construction timetable, would be worth it. “The time and liability of doing the work in house has got to prove to be a greater benefit than the cost savings…. I’d almost be willing to pay a couple more dollars to get it done and move onto the next stage.” Property owners in Phases 2 and 3 would be assessed between $3,800 and $4,600 (with calculations for multi-family homes, mobile homes, and commercial properties), with a second assessment coming when the sewer project begins in their phase, set for 2019 for Phase 2, and 2022 for Phase 3. The assessments could go lower, as the estimates were calculated using an interest rate of 1 ½ percent, while the board is still hopeful it can get a ½ percent interest rate. These numbers do not include the property owner’s estimated cost of $2000 to connect their residence to the sewer in the street. But first residents must approve a ballot measure, set for late this summer, to establish the assessment districts and tax themselves for the sewer project.
A Morongo Valley man was arrested early Tuesday morning, accused of severely neglecting his elderly mother. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson, Neville Chung, 58, and his sister brought their 93-year-old mother to the emergency room at Hi-Desert Medical Center about 9 p.m. Monday night because she was unresponsive. After examining the woman, the attending physician immediately called deputies to report a severe case of neglect, with bed sores, torn skin, and malnutrition, and said the woman may not survive. Chung and his sister left the hospital before Deputy Marcus Murray arrived. The deputy went to Chung’s home in the 10800 block of West Drive, where he lived with his mother, and Wilson said the home was in deplorable conditions. Neville Chung was arrested about 1:30 Tuesday morning for investigation of elder abuse, booked at West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $50,000.
The CHP has released details of two off-highway vehicle crashes last weekend. Sunday, at 11:40 a.m., Gene Ciampa, 34, of Joshua Tree, was driving a 1976 dune buggy westbound in the open desert on BLM land east of Coyote Lake dry lake bed. Ciampa and passenger, Alisabeth Girten, 35, also of Joshua Tree, were ascending a small incline at approximately 5 miles per hour; Ciampa didn’t realize there was a steep drop-off into a ravine on the other side of the incline. The dune buggy went over the 40 foot drop-off and flipped onto its roof into the bottom. CHP Sergeant Turner was the first to arrive and provided medical aid to Girten until medical personnel arrived. Girten sustained life-threatening major head injuries and was flown by Sheriff’s helicopter to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Ciampa sustained non-life-threatening injuries and refused treatment. Both Girten and Ciampa were wearing 5-point safety harnesses, however, they were not wearing helmets. Neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected factors of this collision.
Friday, Shonna Vincent, 37, and Kimberly Ronga-Gonzalez, 39, both of Yucca Valley, were riding a Honda ATV eastbound on Botkin Road in Landers. Vincent was driving at an unknown speed when the ATV collided with an Acura Integra driven by John Perry, 26, of Yucca Valley. Both Vincent and Ronga-Gonzalez were flown by Mercy Air to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs for broken bones. Vincent was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Due to her injuries, Vincent was cited and released to the hospital.
This weekend will mark the 56th annual Twentynine Palms Boys basketball tournament. Fourth through eighth-grade teams from all over the region will be playing Friday through Sunday at Twentynine Palms Junior and Senior High Schools and at the Bell Center at Copper Mountain College. A list of first games for Twentynine Palms-based teams is in this story at z1077fm.com
Friday Night Games:
4th Grade Girls Twentynine Palms versus YuccaValley 5:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms Junior High
4th GradeBoysYuccaValley versus Blythe 6:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms Junior High
6th Grade Girls Twentynine Palms versus YuccaValley 5:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
8th GradeGirlsYuccaValley versus Beaumont 6:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
6th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Blythe 7:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
8th GradeBoysYuccaValley versus Beaumont 8:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
7th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Yucca Valley 5:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
6th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Beamont 6:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
8th Grade Girls Twentynine Palms versus Blythe 7:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
8th Grade Boy Twentynine Palms versus Blythe 8:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
Saturday Morning Games
4th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Redondo Beach 9 a.m. at Twentynine Palms Junior High